Winning your championship

About the author

Kevin VanDam

Kevin VanDam

In the world of professional bass fishing, Kevin VanDam is at the pinnacle and arguably the best in the world.

Many of you are getting ready to fish your club championship. I thought this might be a good time to review some of the tips that I've written about in the past. Hopefully, it'll refresh your memory and help you to a winning performance.

All the previous blogs I've referenced are still posted on BASS Insider.

1. No matter the length of your championship, make sure you practice properly. You need to cover water, develop seasonal patterns, fish towards the weather, avoid catching your bass in practice and keep your mental attitude in shape.

Blending these five principles into a complete package will make a world of difference in your fishing success. 

2. Practice can be tough for recreational anglers. Work, family and finances all take their toll. So, we need to discuss practice efficiency. It's important that you make the most of what time you have on and off the water.

A part of making the most out of what you have is not making bad decisions. I call it keeping the weeds out of your garden. 

3. Make sure all your tackle and gear is ready to go — before the tournament ever starts. Noon isn't the time to change line, and it's not the time to wish you had a few topwater baits. (I don't care if they aren't supposed to be biting on top. You should be prepared.)

Don't forget about your toolbox. A minor mechanical problem can turn into a major disaster if you don't have the right tools and parts onboard. 

4. Sometimes things get tough. The fish aren't doing what they're supposed to do. Your world is turning upside down. That's when you have to fish your strengths and trust your instinct. You have no other option.

This doesn't mean getting stupid on the water. It means looking for something that you can do to catch bass that fits into your scheme of things as a bass angler. 

5. At the same time you're doing the strength and instinct thing, you need to remain versatile. In my world, versatility means changing your natural style of angling to meet the current conditions. It's about doing what you need to do rather than what you want to do.

It does not mean knowing how to fish a wide variety of baits. Most any experienced angler can do that. The versatile angler meets the needs of the fish. 

Reread these blogs and think about their principles. You'll be a much better angler, especially late in the year when it often counts the most.

Remember, it's all about the attitude.

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